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Living in the Docklands

It would not be an overstatement to suggest that until a decade ago Dublin Docklands did not, for most citizens, constitute part of the ‘mental map’ of the city.

The IFSC, initiated and developed by the Irish Government through the aegis of the Custom House Docks Development Authority (whose functions are now subsumed into the Authority), began the process of Docklands regeneration over 20 years ago.

Incrementally, existing communities have seen significant change, improvements in the environ- ment and hopefully some of the dividends of this change.

Citizens and visitors alike are increasingly experiencing the unique place that is Dublin’s Dock- lands. The pending completion of the Convention Centre, Dublin and the Grand Canal Thea- tre will further anchor the ‘new’ Docklands in the mental map, and, indeed, in the life of all Dubliners and visitors alike.

In embarking on the next five years, the Authority, while proud of its achievements, is mindful of the myriad of challenges it faces, not least in the realm of social regeneration where very signifi- cant progress has to be counterpointed by recognition of the many clusters of deprivation and cyclical social problems which still remain in Docklands.

While the population of Docklands has grown substantially, the Authority and Dublin City Council have found it difficult to attract families to settle in Docklands (an experience indeed shared by their counterparts in other cities in Europe). Nevertheless, the goal remains funda- mental to the Authority’s mission.

Figure 1 captures how the Authority intends to place sustainability at the heart of its policies and implementation strategies - not as an end in itself but as a means of ensuring that its actions are guided by a holistic and coherent planning model. This in time will help ensure the achievement of the ‘family living’ objective, as well as many others.

In summary this Planning Model links “issue” identification with all legislation relating to an inte- grated model of sustainability.

The Master Plan in turn acts as a framework for implementation in the Section 25 Planning Schemes, assisted by a sustainability toolkit which will be developed specifically for planning scheme areas in the Docklands and in accordance with the principles and aims of a range of international standards including inter alia the principles of the One Planet Living® Programme and informed by the precepts of the ‘Global Age Friendly Cities: A Guide’ (WHO). One Planet Living® is a global initiative based on 10 principles of sustainability developed by BioRegional and WWF (www.oneplanetliving.org).

Dublin Docklands has the potential to be one of the great living urban environments of Europe. Seen together, the policies contained in the Master Plan are collectively framed to realise that po- tential and to make ‘Living in the Docklands’ a unique and enriching life choice and experience.

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